Talking points

Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-3 win: New top line leads the way

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USA Today Sports Photo

Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-3 win: New top line leads the way

GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand hasn’t been his usual prolific goal-scoring self this season for the Bruins, so scoring a pair of goals in Boston’s second period outburst was a nice bit of productivity for the Nose Face Killah. Marchand scored his first goal on a brilliant cross-ice pass from David Pastrnak where he simply had to redirect it into the net, and then for his second he hung in front until a David Krejci pass could get through traffic and then scored just before he got slammed right in front of the net. In all, Marchand had two goals and three points along with a plus-1 rating in 23:15 of ice time, with six shot attempts and a very solid 4-of-5 performance in the face-off circle. The two goals also pulls Marchand into a tie with Jake DeBrusk for the second-most goals on the team behind the 21 strikes scored by David Pastrnak this season.

BLACK EYE: John Moore ended up having a really rough game for the Bruins tonight against the Coyotes. He’s been mostly solid for the Black and Gold throughout the season, and really doesn’t seem to make a lot of mistakes on the ice with a very simple, effective style of play. But on Arizona’s second goal he tried a backhanded clear from the slot, and it got blocked as the puck stayed in the defensive zone with Arizona on the attack. Eventually a Nick Cousins shot deflected off Moore and past Rask to give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead. In the second period it was again Moore that couldn’t handle a puck behind the net, and shuffled it toward Tuukka Rask. The Bruins goalie couldn’t handle it and it ended up leading to another Coyotes goal. Moore finished a minus-2 in 17:12 of ice time with that indicative of some of the struggles he was having on the ice.

TURNING POINT: For the Bruins it was scoring four goals in a big bunch that happened in less than five minutes in the second period. The Bruins got goals from Danton Heinen and David Pastrnak that were 33 seconds apart to tie the game in the first few minutes of the second, and then got another two scored in than a two-minute span to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. It was an encouraging development for a team that has experienced a lot of trouble scoring goals with the injuries taking away some of their best players. The quick strike scoring ability hasn’t been there of late like it was earlier in the year and last season, but perhaps it’s coming back a little bit as the Bruins slowly start to get healthy. Whatever the case, the Coyotes never fully recovered from the stunner slapped on them by the Bruins in the middle stanza.

HONORABLE MENTION: Normally we might give this to David Krejci with his three assists or David Pastrnak scoring his 21st of the season. But instead let’s give credit to David Backes for being one of the ultimate hockey tough guys. The B’s power forward got caught with an Oliver Ekman-Larsson skate blade to the face in the first period that caused Backes to immediately sprint to the dressing room for repairs. There was blood leaking on the ice and big concern given the way the blade sliced through the skin next to his nose. Incredibly Backes was out for the second period stitched up and ready to go, and finished with three shot attempts and three hits in 15:31 of ice time. A team seeing a guy like Backes come right back after a scary skate blade incident is exactly the kind of thing that can lift a hockey bench’s spirit as it seemed to for Boston in the second.  

BY THE NUMBERS: 800 – the number of NHL games played for David Krejci with Tuesday night’s tilt against the Arizona Coyotes, with all of them played for the Bruins.

QUOTE TO NOTE:  “He’s a pass first, pass second, [pass] third and then he shoots kind of player.” –David Pastrnak, when asked if playmaking center David Krejci is a pass-first kind of player. 

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David Pastrnak's hat trick leads Boston Bruins to 8-2 rout of Detroit Red Wings

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AP Photo

David Pastrnak's hat trick leads Boston Bruins to 8-2 rout of Detroit Red Wings

BOSTON -- The talking points from the Bruins' 8-2 win over the Red Wings on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden:

GOLD STAR: David Pastrnak ended with a hat trick and once again sparked the Bruins offense with a highlight-reel move in the first period. Pastrnak took the puck down low, carried it all the way up the ice through a Detroit defense that totally backed off him, and then fired a laser beam to the far top corner of the net for an electrifying goal. It didn’t end there, obviously, as Pastrnak scored two more goals and finished with three goals and a plus-3 in 13:34 of ice time. The second goal was just as pretty as Patrice Bergeron threw Pastrnak a no-look, cross-ice pass and the 22-year-old right winger didn’t miss a beat in rifling a one-timer to the top corner of the net. In all Pastrnak has seven goals and nine points in five games to start the season, and has essentially done all of that damage in the last four games following the opening night debacle against Washington.

BLACK EYE: Boy, was it a tough night for young Detroit defenseman Joe Hicketts. Not only did he get dismissively slapped away like a little child by Zdeno Chara during a first-period scuffle between the Bruins and Red Wings players, but he also finished with a game-worst minus-3 on the evening. Hicketts actually had 23:59 of ice time for the Red Wings in an impressive workhorse amount, and threw five hits while trying to play a physical style. But Hicketts clearly isn’t ready to shut down players the caliber of Boston’s lineup at this early point in his career, and he should think two, three or even four times before tangling with Chara anytime soon. Like a lot of his young Detroit teammates, Hicketts is probably going to take his lumps this season.

TURNING POINT: While many, this humble hockey writer included, would point to the Pastrnak first-period thing of beauty as the event that energized the Bruins, the players ibeg to differ. They instead pointed to Noel Acciari getting into it with Dylan Larkin a little bit earlier in the period after the two had collided violently in the neutral zone. Larkin came back and gave Acciari a couple of shoves to the head area, and Acciari finally responded by dropping the gloves ready to handle it the honorable way. At that point Larkin backed down and gave the Bruins a power play when he was slapped with a double-minor for roughing at the end of the incident. The Bruins players said that exchange woke them up from a bit of a sleepy first period, and got them going for the rest of the game.  

HONORABLE MENTION: Finishing up behind Pastrnak was Jake DeBrusk with two goals of his own on the night. It was the first two goals of the season for the second-year winger and finally might allow him to relax a little bit after pressing following a scoreless first four games of the season. The first goal was a great play with David Krejci intercepting a puck in the neutral zone and then feeding DeBrusk behind the Red Wings defense for a breakaway chance. DeBrusk went for a five hole bid that pin-balled around Jonathan Bernier’s pads before trickling over the goal line, and extending Boston’s lead in the second period. DeBrusk scored later in a redirected shot while attacking the net as well, and finished with two goals and seven shot attempts with a plus-2 rating in 13:50 of ice time. Even better it looks like DeBrusk might be adjusting to playing on the right wing, which could open up some possibilities for either Danton Heinen or Ryan Donato on the left side with them.  

BY THE NUMBERS: 22-6 – the amount that the Bruins have outscored the Sabres, Senators, Oilers and Red Wings over the last four games after losing the humiliating 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on opening night.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I don’t really think about it. I just go out there and play hockey, and enjoy every moment on the ice. Trying to get better every practice and every game, and just, you know, having fun. I love the game and I’m not focusing on if I’m going to score a goal or three.” – David Pastrnak, on whether he’s trying to bulk up his goal-scoring totals this season with seven goals in five games to start the year. 

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Talking Points: B's have 'a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to'

Talking Points: B's have 'a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to'

GOLD STAR: J.T. Miller ended up making the most impact on the game as he knocked David Backes out of Game 5 with a hit that looked like it was head-to-head contact, and then scored the game-winner on a power play just a couple of minutes later. It was a nice give-and-go cycling play with Nikita Kucherov that ended with Miller launching a quick wrist shot from the face-off circle that caught the Bruins goalie by surprise high over his glove hand. Miller finished with the goal and a plus-1 rating in 15:16 of ice time, five shot attempts, two hits, and won 4-of-7 face-offs in a strong all-around effort in an elimination game. It’s interesting to note that Miller was the much less discussed member of that Ryan McDonagh deal with the New York Rangers, but it was the former New York forward that had the big impact in an important game for the Bolts. 

BLACK EYE: Brad Marchand wasn’t very good in one of the biggest games of the year after his actions licking the face of Ryan Callahan became a bit of a sideshow during the series. Marchand finished without a single shot on net, had a couple of giveaways and didn’t really provide any offensive pressure in a game where the Bruins only managed one goal. One would have thought that No. 63 would have been better with everything swirling around him, but instead it looked like he dialed back his game a bit and played more tentatively than usual. It’s too bad because the Bruins really were a boom-or-bust team with that top line during the playoffs, and were very much hurt by the fact the Bruin didn’t have a single 5-on-5 goal from any of their forwards in the final four games of the playoff series against Tampa Bay. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins had a solid first period where they exited with a one-goal lead and scored first for only the second time in the series, and then things really fell apart in the second period during a less than four-minute span. Brayden Point dangled picked up a loose puck and managed to dangle through Tuukka Rask for the game-tying goal at the midway mark of the second period, and then JT Miller knocked David Backes out of the game with a head-to-head hit that left Boston’s power forward down and dazed on the ice. Then Miller scored the game-winner on a power play after Patrice Bergeron was called for tripping, and in that span of just a couple of minutes the Bruins really lost all control of the game. They were within striking distance after that, but it just wasn’t going to happen against a stingy Lightning team. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Charlie McAvoy turned in a very strong final game of his rookie season by leading the Bruins with 26:49 of ice time, and assisting on the only goal they scored with a sweet room service pass to David Krejci for his one-time goal. McAvoy very clearly got better as the series went along and as he was further removed from his knee injury, and finished with two shots on net, four shot attempts, three hits and four blocked shots in a strong all-around game. McAvoy also had a nice open ice hit on Brayden Point as well in the first period that the referees turned into a cross-checking penalty after the two players got tangled up after the hit. Clearly, there weren’t many great standouts for the Bruins in a 3-1 loss, but the performance of McAvoy was definitely a positive. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 19-12 – the power play discrepancy for the series with Tampa Bay finishing with seven more PP chances than Boston over the course of a five-game series. An extra PP in Games 2 and 4 would have probably made this look a lot closer to even, eh NHL? 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “There’s a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to for next season.” –Zdeno Chara, who felt pride and optimism along with the normal disappointment as the Bruins were eliminated from the playoffs.  

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